OTTAWA, March 29, 2012 /CNW/ - The organization representing Canada's
university and college educators says today's federal budget
jeopardizes Canada's long-term development by weakening the country's
"With this budget, the government turns away from the kind of research
that leads to new discoveries in favour of a narrow and short-term
commercial agenda," says James L. Turk, executive director of the
Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). "By linking
research only to business interests, the government will stifle rather
than promote growth and scientific advancement."
The budget supports a major restructuring of the National Research
Council, away from its historic focus on basic research in favor of
meeting the short-term needs of the business sector. The three federal
granting agencies that provide the bulk of Canada's vital
university-based research capacity received no new funding. Instead,
$37 million will be reallocated to support industry-academic research
"Tying research increasingly to commercial interests, as this budget
does, will hinder real innovation," says Turk. "The government fails to
understand that most fundamental advances in knowledge that lead to
innovative applications come from basic research guided by scientists,
not political or commercial interests."
Further, the announcement of a $9.6 million funding cut of over three
years to Library and Archives Canada will further undermine the
institution's mandate to preserve and make available Canada's
historical, social and cultural heritage.
Turk says CAUT is pleased that the government did not cut education
transfer payments to the provinces, but notes that these transfers
remain too low to cover inflation and enrolment increases at
universities and colleges.
"As recently as 1990, public funding made up 80% of total university
operating revenues," Turk explains. "Today, that has dropped to about
50%, with a greater financial burden shifted onto students and their
"There is nothing in this budget to help students struggling with high
fees and debt, to allow universities and colleges to expand student
spaces and hire more teachers, or to permit researchers to conduct
fundamental and ground-breaking work," Turk added.
Burdens placed on students, combined with the budget's announcement of
cuts to social programs such as Old Age Security, will only lead to
greater intergenerational inequality, says Turk.
The deep cuts to public sector spending threaten to stall the economic
recovery and jeopardize future development, Turk warns.
"You can't cut your way to prosperity."
The Canadian Association of University Teachers is the national voice of
66,000 academic and general staff at more than 120 universities and
colleges across the country.
SOURCE Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)
For further information:
Angela Regnier, communications officer, (office) 613-726-5186, (cell) 613-601-6304